My Journey into Street Photography #HelpPhillyHomeless

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Recently I’ve been getting into Street Photography.  Surely, there are a number of ways to define street photography but as I’m learning more and more about my particular style I really prefer the most candid of shots.

Now some people are exactly the opposite and will seek out strangers in the moment to model for them because they appeal to them in one way or another.  I’ve seen some amazing work in that sub-genre but it’s really not for me.  But really what that means is that it’s not in my comfort level.

Philadelphia is full of culture and natural history.  It should be a photographers dream to live here.  Street photography for example can be a bit stressful.  What would you do if a stranger walked up to you asking to take your photo?  I’m not extremely interested in asking strangers to model in the streets for me just yet.

So I set out shortly after getting my Canon 6D and thought I’d take a nice long walk of the city and fire from the hip.  Firing from the hip refers to a term of shooting a gun without aiming down the barrel.  Same can be said with photography.  For me to get my level of comfort in street photography I wanted it to be truly candid.  That’s not always easy when you’re carrying around a large DSLR camera with a noisy shutter.

Who was going to be my first subject?  I’ve always had a large level of sympathy for the homeless.  Homelessness in Philadelphia is a huge problem.  One that is incredibly difficult to overcome.  One thing is undeniable is that these individuals have a ton of raw emotion.  Remember not every homeless person has a drug or alcohol problem.

I thought to myself that perhaps a photo series of showing the raw emotions of the homeless in Philadelphia would help spark a larger awareness and sympathy for the less fortunate.  So I started shooting.

I quickly learned that firing from the hip isn’t easy and I didn’t really have a telephoto lens to capture from the distance where I wouldn’t be noticed right away.  I was able to leave that day with a couple of shots I was pleased with but more importantly the motivation to do this project right.  I went ahead an ordered a proper telephoto lens in hopes to capture some more of this raw emotion on the streets of Philadelphia.

What I hope to accomplish is some wonderful images that will help tell the stories of these less fortunate individuals.  Perhaps next time we won’t ignore them as we walk by because a simple “Hello” can go a long way.

If you want to help spread the awareness of homeless I invite you to share you own photos all over social media use #HelpPhillyHomeless.

(Click to enlarge) (Updated 5/16/2017)

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